As wedding traditions, rituals, the budget has evolved, similarly, the art of giving gifts has grown. This statement holds true for all kinds of gifts exchanged during wedlocks: return gifts to guests and close relatives gracing the event, to gifts given to the wedding couple.
I was going down the memory lane through my parent’s wedding album and realised some of the major changes in the ceremony. Earlier, people used to spend less money on wedding expenses. Guests were limited and gifts exchanged were almost similar in all weddings of the same religion.
Changing Trends in Return Gifts given on weddings
Clothes for close relatives and sweet boxes for all guests were standard almost five to ten years back also. In suburban areas, it was quite common to hire a halwai for the duration of wedding ceremonies. His team was responsible for food served during the ceremony as well as to prepare sweet boxes to be distributed.
In the era of presentation, people have switched to branded sweets shops having a variety of gift boxes specially curated for weddings. Luxury gifting and customized decor are now in fashion, as the spending power of people increases.
The return gifts have not only changed in presentation and quality but various other options are also considered. Like people have started giving eco-friendly and sustainable gifts like indoor plants, designer carry bags and re-usable baskets, bedsheets and blankets, gold jewellery and silver coins. Silver coins were given earlier also, but presentation and the technique have evolved overtimes. Now coins are presented in customized designer boxes.
The shift in gift options for Bride and Groom
It is custom to present a newly married couple with cash, home decor and kitchen utilities along with blessings. This was followed in almost all religions and states of India. However, this approach has many issues. First of all, there may multiple variations of the same gift items, which may lead to wastage of resources. Second, there are lots of cash gifting as well which people may accept in marriages but have started to return money due to different traditions. Instead, Gift items from girls and younger family members are accepted with grace.
A major shift in gifting has started in metro cities of India which has begun a new age of wedding gift ideas. These include gift cards, registries, travel experiences and charities, which avoid all issues in traditional gifting options.
So, let’s talk about them sequentially:
1. Gift cards and travel experiences: Today gift cards are available of almost all brands from groceries app to luxury apparel store. Similarly, many organizations have entered in travel experience domain, which provides packages and gift cards ranging from a day experience to complete trip experiences. These are quite popular among the tech-savvy generation of today. I can vouch from my personal experience!
2. Wedding Gift Registries: Concept of wedding registering is nothing new, but it was made popular in India when Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas made her wedding registry and invited guest to book gifts there. Many leading websites have wedding registry and range of products which couples can handpick in their wish list. From here, wedding couples may share this list with friends and guests. This trend is becoming popular because today's couples have specific choices and often gifts of extended relatives are not up to their expectations. The wedding registry is a way to remove the expectations hurdle. Also, you can choose products from a price range of Rs 500 to luxurious products in lakhs also.
3. Charity donation: This option has become acceptable as a wedding gift after Bollywood Power couple Deepika- Ranveer asked their guests to give money in the charity they support, instead of receiving physical gifts. Supporting Social causes are a great way to get blessings of your near and dear ones as wells as from people who are actually benefited from the charity. So, if you feel strongly for charitable causes, here is your chance to motivate others also towards the same.
Gifting is a way to show our care and love for the person. They also feel cherished and get encouraged. Providing presents on the imperative functions has and will be forever a custom in every part of the world.
The style and trends of gifts may have evolved over a period of time, however, the feeling of giving gifts with happiness will always remain behind the intentions.